My Two Centsss - These Are The Top Seven Matches Of 2012
By Super Chrisss
Dec 17, 2012 - 5:30:43 PM
Writer's Note: Those of you who have been following my work the last couple of years might recall the year end countdowns I compile a few weeks before January 1st. Each list will be composed of no more than seven entries (in tribute to the guy who inspired me to start "My Two Centsss" and former MP columnist, XanMan) which look back at the top superstars, feuds, returns, etc. of the year. Keep in mind that these are MY personal viewpoints, so feel free to debate any and all entries. Today we look at 2012's best matches, according to me.
7. Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan (RAW, October 22)
We kick off the countdown with two IWC favourites - one-half of the disputed tag team champions and Mr. Money in the Bank. Even though this fantastic one-and-one match took place less than two months ago, many people already have forgot about it. I'm guessing when fans think about the best matches of the year, they seem to limit their choices to Pay-Per-View, which is too bad since 2012 has been a year filled with some great TV bouts, especially on RAW and Main Event. Nevertheless, I fondly recall this Bragging Rights 2010 rematch and although their RAW match was a notch below in quality (I blame the commercial break halfway through), this was a fun match hurt by a dead crowd. Still, I highly recommend you look it up if you somehow missed it Bryan vs. Ziggler; trust me, the near-falls alone make it worth your time.
6. Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett vs. The Big Show vs. The Great Khali vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Santino Marella
If you have not seen this match and/or completely forgot about Santino winning his way into the match at the last minute to replace Randy Orton, you probably think I'm crazy for calling a match involving the Milan Miracle, Khali, and Big Show one of the best bouts of the year. But those of you who did see this match last February will understand why it finds a spot on the countdown. After a boring first few minutes (the guy who thought Big Show should start off a Chamber match should have been fired a long time ago), we got an excellent 3/4s of the match filled with drama, near-falls, and spots we've never seen before (Show breaking down Bryan's chamber door and dragging him out was awesome). However, the real highlight of the match was when it came down to Santino and Bryan as the last two men. Every fan - mark, smark, n00b, veteran - knew Santino had zero chance of defeating Bryan and leaving the PPV as world champion, but when he hit The Cobra, the crowd went nuts and we got one of the most dramatic near-falls I've ever seen. A star was made that night in Santino but rather than capitalize on his momentum, WWE let Santino go back to competing in the midcard, a U.S. title run no less. What a shame. Still a great match though.
5. Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena in a Money in the Bank ladder match (TLC)
Am I jumping the gun by putting this match on the list when it's not even a day old? Possibly, but I truly believe Ziggler vs. Cena delivered and will stand the test of time. While it wasn't as epic as Cena vs. Edge from Unforgiven nor was it the best match at last night's PPV (hint hint), I thought both men did a great job telling their story. The hot Brooklyn crowd only added to the atmosphere, and they were solidly behind Ziggler, which was a bit of a throwback to Cena vs. Punk at last year's MitB PPV. Anyways, I loved the pace of the match and both men worked smart. Vickie and Aj's run-ins were expected, but it made sense considering the storyline. I don't think Aj's betrayal was as anti-climatic as some people made it out to be, and I laughed my ass off when she hit Vickie with Cena's signature moves. Also, props to Cena for not letting that nasty cut on his eye slow him down or affect the quality of the bout. Ziggler retaining the briefcase was simply the icing on the cake. They definitely met my expectations.
4. CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship (Over The Limit)
Honestly, you could have picked any of Punk and Bryan's one-on-one bouts this year (their Champion vs. Champion matches from RAW and SmackDown or their match at MitB) and they would have fit right in. I'm going with their bout at Over The Limit because they were given plenty of time to put on a wrestling clinic. This match wasn't for the kiddies in attendance (which is one of the reasons why they went with Cena vs. Laurinaitis in the main-event) as it was pure wrestling 101, but us older fans loved every minute of it. They busted out moves they probably can't perform on the majority of the roster, and you had no idea who would leave with the title. This was probably the closest equivalent to a Shawn Michaels/Bret Hart match and my only regret is WWE has yet to have Bryan and Punk go at it in a 60-minute IronMan match. Then again, never say never!
3. Triple H vs. The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match (Wrestlemania 28)
Is number three too low for what many people call the best match of the year? Some say yes, I say no. While I applaud both guys for putting on a hell of a performance (no pun intended) and much like Taker/HBK making their match different from the year before, I just don't think this was a five-star match, especially when I watch it back now. Was it an awesome match? Absolutely, but I just don't feel it's the masterpiece some people make it out to be. Shawn Michaels' presence as Special Referee and the surrounding cell added mystique to the match and kept the flow going, and that Sweet Chin Music/Pedigree combo was probably the closest near-fall I've ever seen in my life. However, once 'Taker kicked out of that, you knew 110% The Streak would stay alive and so the rest of the match was a tad anti-climatic. Great match, but not epic.
2. Ryback & Team Hell No vs. The Shield in a TLC match
Damn right I put this baby in the top three of the year's best, and I'm really glad I waited until TLC was over to finalize this list (sorry, Chad). This was a near perfect match from every way you look at it. The Shield was put over and looked strong, but that doesn't mean it was a squash match. Ryback and the tag team champions gave the up-and-comers one heck of a brawl and we saw things in this TLC match we haven't seen since the first TLC match, over twelve years ago. From the double superplex to Bryan off a table, to Ryback's double-suplex on a ladder, to Rollins' scary, near-career ending bump off a ladder, all six men worked their asses off last night. The crowd was into it from start to finish, and I'll say it again - a hot crowd can make any match even better. In the end, the right team won, but no one looked weak in defeat, not Ryback, who was left standing tall, nor Bryan, who put up a hell of a fight in the closing minutes. Easily one of the best TLC matches of all-time.
1. CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship (Wrestlemania 28)
I know I'm the only columnist (probably the only person, period) who thinks this was a five-star match, but I don't care. These two locking up in a co-main-event at Wrestlemania was a dream come true for me, who is a huge fan of both guys. It was one of those matches where I sat down and didn't care who won - I just wanted to enjoy the action. And I did. The whole "if Punk gets disqualified he loses the title" stipulation was not needed, and I'm glad they basically ignored it after the first few minutes. For over twenty minutes, Punk and Jericho exchanged move for move, counter after counter, and the only thing that held them down was a slightly exhausted crowd. Fortunately, the fans got back into it at the very end and they appreciated the epic battle they had just witnessed. At Wrestlemania, Punk and Jericho proved why each man considers himself the best in the world. Simply my favourite match of the year, without question.
Honourable mentions: Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena (Extreme Rules); Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz (Main Event); John Cena vs. CM Punk (Night of Champions); Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler (Night of Champions); Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus (Extreme Rules)
What do you think? Is my list fair? Should I have bumped something off for one of my honourable mentions? Am I crazy for putting Jericho vs. Punk at number one? Well, let me know! I'll be back sometime this week with another year end countdown so until then...
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Thanks for reading.